• Search
  • Lost Password?
Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

“Will and Sophie find more than they had imagined in the hills of Tuscany”
‘It Happened In Tuscany’
by Gail Mencini
Mailbox Monday

Image of a red letter box set in a wall. Featured image for Mailbox Monday meme

This week, I would like to thank the author in person, for the opportunity to feature this great sounding Tuscan treat with you all!

When there are so many excellent bloggers and professional sites out there to choose from, that Gail even found Fiction Books, is a minor miracle in itself, let alone that she should then decide to contact me direct.

I would also like to once again thank the lovely NetGalley team for making the download so easy and painless, thus affording me one more platform on which to promote It Happened In Tuscany.

The book’s author, Gail Mencini, has also prepared a lovely guest article, which I shall be featuring in my next post, as It Happened In Tuscany, works its way up my reading list.


Cover Image of the book 'It Happened In Tuscany' by the author Gail MenciniIn 1945, Will Mills and his fellow soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division scaled Italy’s treacherous Riva Ridge in the frigid night to break through the nearly impenetrable German line of defense. Severely wounded, Will was rescued by Italian partisans and one, a beautiful girl, tended his injuries until he had the strength to rejoin the U.S. troops.

Tormented and haunted by his decisions and actions during wartime, Will knows he has unfinished missions in Italy to complete. The passage of time and years of carrying this unfulfilled need have molded Will into a bitter, angry man.

Seventy-five years later, Will’s spunky thirty-two-year-old neighbor, Sophie Sparke, faces disaster in her life. Everything is going wrong—her job, her love life, even her dog. Part of the problem is that confident and fiercely independent Sophie lets her quick mouth get her into trouble.

Grouchy, mean-spirited Will finagles Sophie into traveling with him to Tuscany to find the partisan who saved his life. Will also secretly hopes to confront the demons his wartime actions created. Sophie and Will comb enchanting Tuscan hill towns on an improbable and unfolding mission with few clues to aid them. Will’s passionate tenacity drives their quest and in the process exposes their darkest secrets. The journey alters the course of their lives, and Will and Sophie find more than they had imagined in the hills of Tuscany.


Image of author Gail MenciniGail was born and raised in a rural community in Nebraska, where everyone knew their neighbours and summers were spent outdoors—working, playing, or watching fireflies. Her love for reading books and imagining characters and their stories germinated during those days of creating her own world.

Gail’s parents raised her to be independent. Graduating from Wartburg College with a BA in Accounting and Economics and a master of taxation degree from the University of Denver, brought her training in tax law, and for many years she practiced as a CPA using that knowledge. Her parents, who visited every continent except Antarctica, also sparked her love of travel and adventure, which burns brighter than ever, whilst her loving husband, along with their four sons, their activities, and their dogs, fill her daily life with joy.

It was a hot July summer visit to Key West, which sparked Gail’s writing career. She and her husband had toured Ernest Hemingway’s house. Smacked in the face with the master writer’s ghost and palpable presence, she confessed her secret desire to write books, although unlike Gail, her husband felt only the heat and humidity and not a trace of Ernest!

Her confession led to a novel that won contests, but otherwise never saw the light of day. Years of writing, revising, and rejections occurred, and then a kernel of an idea, and several trips to Italy, evolved into her debut novel, To Tuscany with Love.

Living in the beautiful state of Colorado, being a wife, mother, writer, and breast cancer survivor, Gail believes herself to be truly blessed.

Keep up with all Gail’s news at her website

Follow Gail on Twitter

Connect with Gail on Facebook

“It’s never too late to take stock of one’s work, relationships, and life. What dreams of yours are unfulfilled, and why have they been pushed aside? Sometimes circumstances or economics are the unavoidable roadblock to achieving your dreams.

When things are outside of a person’s control, all one can do is to evaluate how best to deal with these obstacles, and then take action. That was my personal approach when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The best thing about my cancer was that I realized how many people cared about me and wanted to help. I am not very good at asking for help and, unfortunately, many people are the same. Family and friends are a grossly underrated asset, which is why I centered my debut novel, To Tuscany with Love, on a group of friends who help each other save, and forgive, themselves.

A surprising occurrence is that sometimes we ourselves, like my characters, have become the obstruction to achieving our goals. Passionately investing in your relationships and dreams is the first step to molding yourself into the person you dream of being and in the process, achieving happiness and fulfillment.”

Picture of an English red post box - generic image to link to the mailbox Monday meme

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share links to the books that came into their house during the last week. This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well, after all you never know where that next “must read” book will come from.


Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

View all articles
Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    • Hi Martha,

      This is the second book in Gail’s Tuscan treat, following on as it does from the very well received ‘To Tuscany With Love’.

      Both stories are however, completely independent of one another and have totally diverse storylines, so there are no series reading issues either!

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you have some great new additions to your mailbox this week 🙂

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I have never visited Tuscany, but I am sure it is beautiful.

      This book does begin towards the end of the second World War though, so I am certain that it would have been a much changed place during that period. Will would probably have found a vast difference on his return several decades later.

      I hope that you have some great books in your TBR pile for this week and thanks for visiting 🙂

    • Hi Kathy,

      Aw! Thanks for those kind words, I really appreciate them!

      I didn’t write the words I did in the hope of getting any specific reaction, but it was just an observation about how one blog can be found amongst the many dozens of fantastic sites out there.

      I’m sure that many thousands of armed forces personnel, from all sides and representing all conflicts, regret and are haunted by actions they have both voluntarily and under order, undertaken in the name of war.

      Will obviously has something really playing on his mind, if he is so determined to return to Tuscany to clear his conscience and lay his demons to rest!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good week 🙂

  • Yvonne, your posts are always so thoughtful and get to the heart of a book so it’s no wonder why the author sought you out. I hope you love the book.

    • Hi Mary,

      Thank you so much for your generous words, I appreciate your continued support!

      I have to admit that these days, I am definitely drawn to the book promotion projects, more so than final reviews.

      I do try and stay quite neutral in my assessment of a book, which is another reason for reviews as a whole being quite subjective, purely in my humble opinion of course!

      I hope that you have some great new titles to add to your shelves this week – Happy Reading 🙂

  • I’ll admit this sounds very good. However, I still have another dual timeframe novel about Tuscany sitting in my TBR, as well as a couple of other WWII stories. I will certainly keep it in mind for the future, though. I look forward to additional posts about it!

    • Hi Kelly,

      I must admit, I have come across quite a few dual timeframe novels just recently and by default, many of them are WWII and present day centric.

      However, I couldn’t find any set in Tuscany, and as this is not an area I have ever visited, I guess I am hoping for some descriptive scenic writing along the way!

      I think you will probably enjoy Gail’s guest post when it is published 🙂

  • Well, I’m now in need of a book for Italy because I abandoned the one I was reading… it didn’t capture my attention as I would have wished and I feel like I’m too old now to plough on with books I’m not enjoying. I do have others but I rather like the sound of this one so will check it out on Goodreads in a moment.

    • I’m afraid that I am still stupid enough to read on regardless of whether a book has really engaged me or not, but that’s just my stubborn streak, which won’t allow me to admit defeat!

      I don’t know whether you have had the chance to swing by Gail’s website or Goodreads page yet, however both of her novels are set in Tuscany, and both have quite diverse and unique storylines, so you might have a couple of options to choose from for your Italian challenge!

      I do enjoy following your armchair travels and only wish that I could be that organised about my reading. I seem to get caught up in so many promotions and Blog Tours just recently, although I do admit to enjoying myself, so I guess that’s all that matters 🙂

      • Enjoying yourself is definitely the most important thing, Yvonne. To be honest I’m trying not to be organised this year but it’s proving a tough habit to break, LOL!

        I haven’t looked at Gail’s website but I looked on Goodreads and then went to Amazon to pre-order the book. I think it’s out today so I’ll check later to see if it’s on my Kindle and tablet. I treated myself to a Kindle Fire tablet when Amazon had a sale a couple of weeks ago, feeling guilty as I don’t *really* need it, but nevertheless. Thrilled to find that the Amazon app page display on the tablet is absolutely superb.

        • Not organised – you! – never going to happen! 🙂

          I haven’t looked at the tally of books on my Kindle lately, I’m too frightened to!!

          I only have to look at all the ‘real’ books I am surrounded by, here on the shelves in my office, let alone all those in the rest of the house, to get the shivers.

          Never going to get time to read even a small percentage of them – but do I stop adding – NO!! 🙂

    • Hi Veronica,

      You should definitely check out Gail’s website, as I think you would enjoy both of her Tuscany based stories, perhaps the first one ‘To Tuscany With Love’, even more so than this one!


      I hope that things are good with you and that you have some great books lined up to read 🙂

Written by Yvonne